johnny_admin, Author at Cornmarket Insurance

Safe Driving Tips in Cold Weather

With the cold weather upon us, driving can become a serious challenge. Here, IAM RoadSmart have pulled together some expert advice on driving in snow from its head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman.

The best advice is to avoid travelling in extreme weather. If no one is moving, you just add to the problem – so listen to travel advice. If you do have to travel in bad weather, plan your journey thoroughly. Think about where you are going and what it will be like all the way along the journey. If you can, avoid travelling on less-used roads or country lanes as these are less likely to be gritted.

Before setting off, clear all your windows and mirrors fully. Clear off snow piled on the roof of your car and the bonnet too, as it can fall and blow on to the windscreen. Don’t leave anything obscured.

Start your car gently from stationary and avoid high revs. If road conditions are extremely icy and you drive a manual car, you should move off in a higher gear rather than first gear. You should stay in a higher gear to avoid wheel spin.

It’s important you get your speed right when travelling in snow. Never drive too fast that you risk losing control, and don’t drive so slowly that you risk losing momentum for getting up a slope.

Increase your following distance from the vehicle in front of you. It may take up to 10 times as long to stop on snow or ice build this into your following distance – this will give you more time to slow down using engine braking which is less likely to induce a skid.

Make sure you slow down sufficiently before reaching a bend so you have enough time to react to any hazards that appear as you go round it – and so you do not skid as well. You should have finished slowing down before you start to turn the steering wheel.

If you break down or have to pull over on a motorway or dual carriageway, you should leave your vehicle and stand to the safe side of it – ideally well over the armco to the nearside of the road, but not in front of it, when waiting for help.

Richard said: “Many of the problems associated with travel during snow could be avoided if people planned in advance. People routinely travel with only the minimum of safety equipment, without realising their journey could be a lot longer than expected.

“At the very least you should have a shovel, torch, blanket, jump-leads and tow rope. You should ensure your mobile phone is fully charged, and the number of your recovery organisation is saved into it. A bottle of water and a snack may also prove useful and don’t set out without knowing the locations of petrol stations on your way.

“This all might sound obvious, but too many of us forget to do any of this. Don’t be one of the ill-prepared, and listen to the weather forecast for the whole length of a winter journey to help you prepare for it.”

This article was originally published on, our partner, IAM RoadSmart’s website. We’re the official insurance partner of IAM RoadSmart. With so many advanced motorists all grouped together, we can offer very competitive premiums – find out more about our partnership.

Getting Car Insurance as a Young Driver

Car insurance for Young Drivers can be expensive, here are our tips which could help reduce the cost…

Do your research
Research, research, and then research some more. The internet is a resource so use it. The vast majority of insurance companies have quote-checking options on their websites. Look up a list of car insurance providers, check your spec, and compare all your prices. If you’re brave, you can call your insurance company and barter with them. It won’t always work, but there’s no harm in trying!

Avoid high-performance vehicles/sports cars
A sports car might be fun to drive, but they’re notoriously expensive to run and cost a small fortune in car insurance and fuel. There are plenty of quality car insurance deals for high-performance cars but you’re likely going to pay through the nose for a solid plan. If you’re a new or young driver, a Subaru is going to cost you a lot more to insure than the old banger you got when you were seventeen.

Go easy on the car modifications
Unnecessary modifications/alterations might look impressive, but they’ll cost you in the long run.

Install an alarm and immobiliser to reduce the cost of your car insurance
The cost of your car insurance can be driven up by factors you haven’t even thought of. Security is something that slips most people’s minds, experienced drivers included. Investing in a car alarm or high-tech immobiliser may reduce the cost of your car insurance premium. If nothing else, at least you’ll know your car is safe.

Hold onto your no claims bonus
This is an obvious one but hold onto your no claims bonus and clean licence for as long as you can. A safe driving record tells your insurance provider that you’re trustworthy. Over time, your premium will take a dip when your No Claims Discount comes into play.

Third party is cheaper—but is comprehensive car insurance best for you?
Choosing the right car insurance plan can be tricky. There’s a lot to consider and much of it comes down to your budget. Young drivers’ car insurance is known for being expensive, but choosing the right plan could save you a small fortune.

Third party, third party fire and theft, and comprehensive cover all vary in price and all cover different things. Whatever plan you go with, make sure you go through your policy in full with your broker (you can contact us here) so there’ll be no unpleasant surprises waiting for you on the off-chance that you’re involved in an accident.

Tip: always check your policy options in-depth to make sure you’re not paying for something you don’t actually need. Cancel any non-relevant extras.

We want to help you by providing the best value products with great range of benefits – that deliver when it matters the most. For more information, click here or call us on 028 9044 5090.

Welcome winter, we’d wondered where you were

We’ve had a good run with the weather over the last few months and it really seemed like we were getting away scot free from the icy mornings and cold evenings. As this cold spell sets in, don’t forget the basics for your home. Frozen pipes can cause some serious issues, so here’s how to avoid leaks and water damage to your ceilings, walls and carpets.

What happens?
When the water in the pipes freezes, the pressure build-up between the ice blockage and the closed tap at the end of a pipe leads to them bursting at their weakest point. Pipes in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls are particularly vulnerable to freezing in extremely cold weather. This is usually where there are holes in your homes outside walls for television, cable or telephone lines that allow cold air to reach these pipes.

How to protect your home?

  • Find out where the mains water stopcock is, and make sure it turns off easily
  • Review your Home Insurance policy to make sure you have sufficient coverage in the event that your pipes burst
  • Make sure your home is heated for a part of each day and night to ensure that water in pipes do not become frozen
  • Open the attic door to allow heat to circulate into the attic
  • Ensure there is no insulation under your water storage tank in your attic. If there is, remove it, so as to allow heat from the house to circulate
  • Ensure the pipes in your attic and external pipes are properly lagged. The more insulation the better
  • Ensure that cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes are sealed with caulking
  • In your kitchen and bathrooms, keep cabinet doors open during cold spells to allow warm air to circulate around pipes
  • Always allow for a slow trickle of water to flow through your taps and out the drain hole. This prevents your pipes from freezing over. Please pay particular attention to this if your house will be unattended during cold periods
  • If you plan to be away overnight, ensure that the heating is on for a part of the evening or night and leave the attic door open to allow heat to circulate in the space
  • If you own a holiday home please remember to turn off the water supply at the mains and drain down the entire cold water and heating system
  • If your pipes do freeze, turn the water off and thaw them out slowly with hot water bottles
  • Report any property damage to your insurance company immediately and make temporary repairs to prevent further damage

When it comes to having to claim through your home insurance, here are our top tips:

  • If there is minor damage to your home you may arrange for the damage to be repaired once you have notified your insurance company –take photos and retain all receipts
  • For more serious damage, report any property damage to your insurance company immediately and make temporary repairs to prevent further damage.
  • Remove potted plants, books, shoes, paper goods, fabrics and other items which may stain wet carpet.
  • Avoid disposal of items which are part of your claim until your insurance company has given authorisation to do so. These items must be kept for inspection and valuation.
  • If it is possible that any wiring may have been damaged by water, the electricity should be disconnected from the main supply.
  • Never attempt to wipe or wash walls, ceilings, or other absorbent surfaces.
  • Water from dishwashers, washing machines, toilet overflows or external flood sources has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness as it contains a significant level of contamination.

It’s also important to check that your home insurance policy covers damage like this, you can discover this by reading your policy documents. If you’d like to get a new home insurance quote, feel free to give us a call on 028 9044 5040. You can also take a policy out online here, whichever suits you.

How can I make a complaint?

We’re sorry you’re not happy with our service. Sometimes we make mistakes.

Please get in touch with us by calling 028 9044 2200 or use our Get in Touch form and we’ll be in touch. If your complaint hasn’t been resolved within 24 hours, we’ll investigate and write to you within 5 working days – keeping you informed with regular updates.

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Is your complaint is about a product purchased online? If so, you can contact the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman or you can submit your complaint to the European Union’s Online Dispute Resolution platform here.

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